Sunday, April 08, 2007

suburban glitter @ cranbrook forum gallery

I can probably count the number of challenging avant garde shows that detroit encounters in a year on one hand. To be fair, detroit has fewer galleries in comparison to say ny or la, and fewer open minds as well, so it isn't completely fair to say that we have nothing when again I feel somewhat forced to be happy for what we do have. For any of you just tuning into the blog, the more I travel the harder I am on local shows, only because I know what the caliber is out there. I still think we/detroit can compete with the best and that is why when I see a good show I might have more to say than after seeing a less than mediocre show. It is like when I was back in art school and there were some students who weren't up to par but the other students would hold off during critique because they knew that they couldn't handle the true criticism. The students who were doing well suffered the tough criticism because everyone knew that they had ground to stand on and could think for themselves to challenge and defend the criticism. That is where I am when I see a good show by artists that are well on their way to a healthy art career. Do you open the doors to a healthy dialogue ... or say, "oh, they are better than the rest so we shouldn't say anything...we should be happy to experience a good show" ... ?

This show was something that I could imagine seeing in another city or even by a cranbrook graduate. I even hate saying this because I hate comparing detroit shows to ny/la/other but hey...isn't that where all of our good artists move? These ccs students are well developed in their direction but I feel that the show fell apart in their intent/focus. I have seen Ladd's pieces at an underwear-hair fashion show and Spaysky's works here. The collection of pieces was almost there but I was distracted by the fact that a third of the content had already been shown and seemed like a retrospective of past work put together in an over-the-top presentation. This mind-numbing excessive object display was the idea of the show, but it was somewhat clouded by the recycled nature of items. I had somewhat highly anticipated the show, and upon walking into the space I was initially excited. Foil covered walls and over stimulating pop icons covered the space from floor to ceiling. I found that Spaysky's Spears/Federline video (also seen at the ccs show), which blared Spears' whiny voice repetitively in the background, created a jarring, in-your-face feel that summed up for me what the show was about - in a good way. This is about glitz, brands, symbols, icons and success, and pointing it out while mocking these important American images. I believe that I have been ruined by seeing Ladd's show here and feel that merging of works muffles Spaysky's glaring pop vision. I can already hear the murmurs of detroiters saying, "oh, why be so tough on such a good show?" But why pat good artists on the back when they can receive honest criticism from just one blogger? I am really getting tired of everyone walking on eggshells, hoping not to piss off or offend a galleriest or artist. We may have a smaller art community here, but what good does merely describing a show do? This show had foil on the walls. It had a sculped Epcot Center out of aluminum foil, Scotch tape and cardboard. "I like this. I don't like that." Yes, this is a wonderfully challenging show to see and study and I recommend anyone not familiar with Detroit art to go see it. Go think. Have your opinions. Disagree with your friends. That is what makes a great show.

see "sucking marks" at Scope Miami


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is my problem: I can't tell whether "hickey's" is an intentional error or lazy bad grammar. I am slowly starting to lose my ability to dole out the benefit of the doubt.

9:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There seems to be a rash of 'retardataire' art objects, installatons and the like in the last couple of years....can someone please explain this to me? The psuedo folk art mispellings non art objects and bad drawing is epidemic....i want to understand, but am feeling totaly out of the loop.

11:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the dumb show. and sure you can find this in any other city. but that doesn't make it good. just bad coming to detroit too.

what mike s. told nolan s. once on this blog: bad is good now.

when basquiat and then emin and sean landers (among many many) and even mike lash were doing this 10-15-20 years ago it had some punch. now it's contrived and forced and wanna-be hip.

what's most interesting is that all those artists were rebelling against what they'd been taught in art school. now this "style/trend" has been co-opted by academia and these kids punch it out like good little students.

1:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm too tired to debate right now, but that was one of if not the best Detroit shows this year.

I do want to quickly respond to Frank. I mention this because none of the artists mentioned were doing work addressing the same issues as any of the work in this show. The only thing they seem to have in common is this: The reason bad can be good is because "bad" means nothing except those aesthetics which have not yet entered the mainstream enough to be comfortable. It is not an art movement in and of itself. It is the essence of the avant garde.

This is not a direct response to the show at hand. I might find the energy for that later. This is intended as an attempt to debunk a certain argument against this and other work.

2:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Soon they will sell archival lined loose-leaf paper at the art supply store for this trend in student work.

8:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

whether or not this genre of work is one's preference, you must acknowledge the earnestness of the young artists creating it.

10:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bad is the avant-garde now!?

A little too late to be avant, and way too prevalent to be garde!

There's nothing earnest here, other than buying into a perception of what's currently "hot" in the art world.

If so, these students have already surrendered themselves to the system they hope to storm.

11:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

word up. chris m.

12:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No comment...

1:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think they're going with the flow, and that they have their place in the art world. This is far more relevant than a mountain of ca-ca that's gettng recognition right now.

Way to go guys! Next time make some new work though. I hope this isn't all we will see at the student show.

2:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

An opinion . . .

Too much "feeling" and not enough good design, thinking and effort.
Sorry, but there is something to be said for quality technique - no matter what style and medium you use.

3:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Out of curiosity, how many CCS students end up at Cranbrook? It seems like a lot.

4:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"good design, thinking and effort"

I certainly find all of these qualities in this show.

I'd love to hear some examples of good work from those that feel that this isn't. It's hard to argue for what qualifies as "bad" without the other side of the binary.

"Bad is the avant-garde now!?"
No. Bad was ALWAYS the avant-garde. Duchamp, Malevich, Cage, Tuttle, every avant-garde artist has always explored those "bad" aesthetics.

Also, I really am not getting the recycled work view of this show. There certainly were a few pieces that appeared again. There was the video, made relevant again by recent developments (break-up, hair removal etc. The video as the "good-old days"). There were the hair panties, re-contextualized as casual "gallery-goer" wear, as opposed to formal fashion show. Other than those... the wooden faygo bottle?

There was a serious amount of strong new work present. And the small amount of work making a second appearance seemed in good taste to me.

"non art objects" This needs to be explained. This seems to be the attitude that most exemplifies artistic conservatism.

"buying into a perception of what's currently "hot" in the art world." Please give examples of these "hot" tickets to support your argument.

4:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"There was a serious amount of strong new work present."
I'm seeing a lot of ironic doodles.

6:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is good avant-garde, there is bad avant-garde. There is good conservatism, there is bad conservatism. Why does it have to be either/or? Each piece must be judged on its own merit.
Many artists do what it "in" and do not have the confidence to go their own way.

6:56 PM  
Blogger Nolan said...

Out-Fucking-Standing guys! Looks like a really consistant show. I love the bucket head and the juggalos. Great shit! Can one of you send me some more images.

9:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Bad is the avant-garde now!?"

It was a rhetorical question. Really meaning it's become the status quo! These guys you mention (Tuttle? c'mon) were working the margins. They weren't taking Avant-Garde 101 at a $40k a year art school.

When bad or good no longer has meaning---Duchamp predicted when anything can be art, nothing is.

I met a girl at a bar the other night. She told me she was an artist. I asked her what type of work. She answered, "oh, I do avant-garde."

1:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ron Zakrin where are you?

Can do ... The self-portrait, expected to fetch $60,000 at auction,,2052892,00.html

A work of art is coming up for auction this month that many owners of defaced property, a scattering of museum curators and journalists have pined to get their hands on: a self-portrait by Banksy.

1:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...,,2052892,00.html

Ron Zakrin where are you?

Can do ... The self-portrait, expected to fetch $60,000 at auction

A work of art is coming up for auction this month that many owners of defaced property, a scattering of museum curators and journalists have pined to get their hands on: a self-portrait by Banksy.

1:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i once dated a canadien artist (g. p.) who gave out hickeys at art shows and took polaroids of her work.
on this side of the river she did once at the kaboom! show i remember.
she also took girl artists into the lavs and shot their pudendas. she wouldnt let me see those though.

1:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it's institutional avant-garde. it's the gravy train. the gravy boat. it's organized hip. a la academia. it isn't fighting the system, it is the system. with blessings. it makes me puke.

3:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm having trouble arguing with you Chris M. for these reasons:

First, are you referring to the show at hand when you talk about art schools pumping out hip-bad-looks-like-but-isn't-edgy art? Or are you referring to some larger movement you abhor? I ask this because on the one hand I can tell you personally that Dylan gets very little encouragement from the largely conservative faculty running the senior studio class. CCS in no way attempts to "pump out" this type of work. But merely having an adversarial relationship with one's school or not has little or nothing to do with the work. How much money one spends to go to said school means nothing either.

I can also personally attest to the fact that neither of the artists are motivated by "hipness". It isn't in their character. But they, as with the school they go to, are not in question here. Only the work.

The majority will always replicate the far-reaching. For better or worse this replication happens faster and faster with current technologies in communication. I wouldn't call this a problem, some need to explore, others need to cultivate and that's fine. I would like to argue, however, that these two artists do not, in my experience with them and their art, attempt to replicate anything which is popular in the art world. The work, as can even be witnessed by the small number of images available on this blog, is obviously more concerned with those cultural icons and methods that exist within what could be called a fringe-mainstream, i.e. highs chool obsessive fandom, models doing coke in the dressing room, etc.

I'm trying to figure out what you might suggest as an alternative. If looking to the fringes is hot right now, do you suggest returning to a linear progression of western beauty? Personally I hope not, but if so you have plenty of artists doing that anyway and receiving more than adequate attention for it.

I don't know if you attended the show. I don't know if you are familiar with the work in any form other than the few pictures available to you on this blog. But I challenge you, if you aren't, to really get close to it and look. I am sure you will find that previously mentioned "earnestness" along with that perfect ambiguity of critique and celebration within what may appear to be shallow aesthetics.

(If I sound sappy it's because I've been drinking)

3:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jesus Christ, where do you people come from? Wayne State?

You sound like a bunch of middle aged knitting buddies.

(Good show you two)

3:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why do people keep referring to CCS if this show is at Cranbrook? Are the two the same?

11:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Elizibeth Ladd and Dylan Spaysky are students at CCS. The show was at Cranbrook.

6:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No comment... (again)

7:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dylan, I think I'm in love.

11:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i read most of the comments but im lazy and didnt get through all of them so forgive me if i sound redundent. i feel like there is absolutely no excuse for the fact that not only have some of these works been show but they are also pretty damn old.

It obviously doesnt take more than an hour to produce many of these works, and i dont see a probelm with that other than the fact that if you know you create simple "quick" pieces you should be able to continiously produce them. i dont want to really get into a "qaulity" vs "qauntity" argument here because i dont feel like it should be one or the other but there is an apparent laziness present which should be absolutely unacceptable, especially in a show that is of this standard.

There is absolutely no justification for a "whatever, here it is" mentalitiy when it comes to an artists work. Among other things, i love the humor and nonseriousness of it all but when that lack of care is prevalant throughtout EVERY portion of the show it makes things fall apart.

You covered everything with tinfoil, thats sweet, looks sweet, and obviously first and foremost is the fact that art looks GOOD, but just because you made some slight effort to alter the space doesn't mean it makes EVERYTHING work. If anything, the tin foil was the entire show, without it everything else would have drastically crumbled.

2:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

two more short blurbs from same as above.........

i dont know that "hip" or whats "cool" even hold much relevance to here as of style. i think maybe as far as content is concerened
it may matter because the entire "thrift store" outsider view of popular culture and ironic love and commenting of the ridicoulsness of it is becoming incredibly blownout. maybe they dont give a fuck, maybe they arent concered with timeless and unique artwork? but are you not concerened with that because you honestly dont give a fuck or is it a matter of you wanting to really love what you do so you find some justifaction in the idea of not really caring about what anyone else is doing.but as far as style goes EVERYTHING is merely preference, ,there is no facts to that.

second, i dont think i agree with presenting anything ever again that was shown in the CCS student show, even if its some kind of joke or intended to be laughed at about the fact that it was already shown. The new work, specifically by dylan, was fucking awesome, but the old work was so apparent in the minds of people who have seen it before that it over powered the new stuff.

sorry if i havent made anysense, i too have been drinking.

2:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

there will be no excuse if this stuff is shown again in their ccs student show. yes, come on now. This show looks pretty interesting but cant be that difficult to make more of the same. Reshowing work in the same general community is dumb...after all, people get around and probably follow the artists to see what is up next with them. Showing the same work over and over? A definite no-no. Nobody is that busy. And if you are, maybe you should have fewer shows.

5:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I want to hear what Dylan has to say about all this...

3:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

chris m is not ------------+-

2:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funny how many Chris M's there are in Detroit.

3:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's me :)

11:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

there was a detroit party over a year ago that was space themed and everything was completely covered in tin foil.

8:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

warhol's factory was covered in foil

6:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what, you're implying that Tin Foil isn't groundbreakingly original?

3:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oil paint isnt original, either, but lots of artists use it

6:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

but they change the context with each change of content.
is that happening here with the foil?
just asking.

9:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


12:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

3R's got nothin on you guys. way to keep the dream alive...everyones on their toes.

Live the life. Make sweet shit.


6:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Crap. It's all total crap.

8:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess its not always good to be part of the in crowd

9:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Click here to see the art that Dylan Spaysky's piece is ripping off!!!!!!!

2:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Click here to see the art that Dylan Spaysky's piece is ripping off!!!!!!!

2:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i think some credit must be given to MB the curator of the show (i think her full name is Michelle Barczak). apparently she got alot of flack from cranbrookinites about using the space for ccs kids.

6:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hottest show ever!!!!!!!

6:46 PM  

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